Who’s Doll Is It Anyway?

The Kid and her doll

Our first foray into the American Girl Place in New York with The Kid was a bit of an eye opener and I have to confess that we did have a bit of a giggle at the craziness of it all.

Parents (mainly dads) carrying multiple red bags, sitting in the waiting room of the Beauty Salon (asleep!), families dining in the dining room, dolls that looked real – which collectively was a bit scary, little girls dressed in the same outfit as their dolls and multiple floors of pink candy stripes and well – more dolls.

However, if you see all of this through the eyes of a child – you will realise that we ended up being well and truly dragged in and five visits later, we did emerge through the revolving doors carrying said red bags and laughing the other side of our smug faces.


You are quite right in thinking that we appear to be quite sensible people on the whole but in our defence this place is a whole new world.

On a corner of 5th Avenue lies a very unique shop for little ladies wishing to purchase a doll that looks a bit like them and with whom they can experience a world of activities and experiences that are equal to girl heaven – and some.


Dolls can be selected to match a child’s skin, hair and eye colour.  The rest of the floors are a little bit like a department store for dolls in so far as you can purchase outfits, accessories, friends, more dolls, books, food and hair and beauty treatments.  I understand that there is also a dolls hospital should one be required.

So, armed with her birthday money, The Kid decided that she wanted to buy one of these dolls.  At $115 before taxes at the till, these dolls are rather an extravagant purchase.  However, it was her money and after we explained all of this, she decided to go ahead on the basis that it would always remind her of the holiday.

So which one then?

American Girl

That part took care of two visits at least.  When faced with an army of dolls, choosing the right one can be a very nerve-wracking experience for the uninitiated.

Our experience in the shop showed us that it was simply the best compliment if someone said how much your doll looked like you.  No pressure here then.

The Kid and the doll

At this point I should warn you that The Kid’s doll did not come with that outfit OR that hairdo.  We are only on Visit 4 anyway so keep up!

Toilet anyone?

Dolls holder

Doll holders can be found in cubicles and next to sinks.  No need for grubby mitts.

It was at this point, The Kid decided she would like to get the dolls hair done.  So up a few flights and we found ourselves here.

Dolls Hair Salon

Only to find there were no appointments.  I kid you not!

Dolls hair salon

Which meant that there would need to be a 5th visit.  As we pencilled in a 3pm appointment for the last day of the holiday.

Dolls hair styles

So for now, we could leave.

Doll purchase

Until the next day when we saw ourselves running down 5th Avenue in the 30 degree heat to get to the hair appointment.

Doll at hairdressers

Where the hair was beautifully plaited by a doll stylist

Dolls hairdresser

But there was no time for any further treatments

Dolls manicure

We had a plane to catch and this doll needed to get back to the UK along with her owner.

Dolls hair plait

And her lovely hairdo.

We had to miss this.

Dolls Cafe

And of course you won’t be surprised to see this.

Iron Man and the doll

Of course he couldn’t wait to muscle in.

And we made sure to walk far enough in front so that he looked like he was on his own.

Me thinks he may be needing this!


All told we probably spent a day of the holiday in this shop.  It was like nothing on earth, yet wonderful and crazy at the same time.  Pure jaw-dropping entertainment for the adult and the child.

The doll and her owner are now safely back in the UK and all is well.

No further beauty treatments have been necessary.

Would you have done the same?


It’s Up To You in New York!

Manhattan. Broadway. Yellow Taxi.

There really is nothing quite like arriving in Manhattan for the first time.  It really is JUST like you see it on TV!  I was so excited for Iron Man and the The Kid as it was their first visit and I wanted them to experience it as I had (almost 20 years ago).  This was Iron Man’s 50th birthday soiree and he was keen to visit in the spring.  My previous visit was during the winter and I have always associated New York with cold weather, hot chocolate and ice skating – just like in the movies.

On arrival in New York we were greeted with very intense 30 degree heat which stayed with us throughout.  For me, this was like seeing a whole new city.  It is very different in the sunshine and it was a treat for me to see New York through different eyes.

Washington Square fountain

As with most big cities, the best exploration and finds are generally done on foot.  These are the times when you can look up and around soaking up the atmosphere and where you stumble upon little gems like this just because you happened to walk into it.

The heat should have slowed us down but it didn’t.   I would love to know how many steps we did.  It can be easy to forget that we have a 10 year old with us sometimes as we have certainly put our legs through the paces over the last week.  We did so much yet we still have so many reasons to go back.  I guess that is always the way.

Walking Brooklyn Bridge

It was also Memorial Day during our visit and it was wonderful to see so many service men and women out and about in the city.

American Navy

One of the things that we truly love about America is the patriotism and the way the American flag is everywhere and on everything.  Absolutely everything.

Slightly blurry picture of the Subway train but you gotta take your chances where you can – think Whoopi Goldberg and Ghost!

See what I mean about the flag!

The Subway proved a godsend for speeding up journeys.  It was quick, reliable, safe, easy and the air con made it the place to go for a cool down.  Just like the tube in London!

New York Subway

Food Glorious FoodIce Cream

You can never eat enough in New York.  There are so many things to try and we really didn’t have time to do it justice – another reason to go back.  We managed a few bits though.

Macaroons & Cookies New York

 Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

Whilst waiting to board the Staten Island Ferry at rush hour to catch a glimpse of Lady Liberty with the workers of New York returning home, Frank Sinatra’s version of ‘New York, New York’ started to belt out.  It was one of those rare wonderful moments that was just so fitting and cheesy at the same time.  Probably not so for the workers who I’m sure hear it every day, but there is no way that any respectable 40 something Brit on tour is going to do anything but start dancing.  Why should we be the exception?!  Of course we blooming well danced.

This is a less fun for a 10 year old with her parents who hasn’t been brought up with this song at every family party since she was 2.  It just doesn’t hold the same meaning.

We won’t mention the foam hat kiddo!

Travel Note – In order to alight at the Statue of Liberty and to climb it, you have to pre-book online.  We didn’t know this prior to travel and were disappointed to learn that it was fully booked until September.  Next time Libs!Statue of Liberty

Madison Square Garden

An absolute must!  With or without kids.  We booked in advance to see the New York Liberty play Minnesota Lynx.

From the moment you walk and hear the American Anthem it is wall to wall entertainment.  It was a well fought game and I have to say there were some pretty powerful women playing.  The highlight of the intervals had to be the large shooters catapulting t-shirts into the crowd.   The atmosphere and excitement in the stadium was palpable.

Basketball. Madison Square Garden.

The High Line

The High Line New York

The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long New York City linear park built in Manhattan on an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad.

In some ways it reminded us of the Olympic Park – beautiful flower beds and a great way to see the city.  Well worth doing.  Lots of artists at the end selling their wares and many tasty food stalls from which to sample more treats.

Check out these slushies being made from the ice block!

Slushies. Ice block

We ended our route in Chelsea.


Chelsea Market. New York.

Another must visit.  Both the neighbourhood and the Market.  So many things to browse and some wonderful entrepreneurs selling their wares.  Absolutely loved this jewellery made from real fruit.

Crafts. Chelsea Market


Another must.  Brooklyn itself and the Dumbo district (mad name!) is a great place for a mooch.  The walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge is a wonderful way to view Manhattan – especially in the glorious sunshine.

Brooklyn Bridge. New York skyline.

Rockefeller Centre

Rockefeller Centre.

I thought the Ice Skating Rink was the preserve of the Rockefeller Centre but it turns out that it lends itself pretty well to outdoor summer dining too.  Loved it the first time, loved it even more the second time.  The favourite.

American Flag. Stars and Stripes

Central Park

Another fave.  The heat precluded us from spending too much time here but we made sure we saw Alice.

Alice in Wonderland. Central Park.

 Memorial Site

We passed through on our first day but on the basis that we hadn’t had the conversation with little lady about 9/11, we didn’t linger.  Had we been alone I expect we would have gone into the museum and spent a little more time here.  Having said that it was incredibly busy and we found it a bit uncomfortable to see people taking selfies.

We felt that just being in the City made us reflect on what happened that day.  Sadly, it is also one of those moments in history where one can remember exactly what they were doing.   During one of our many walks, we passed an open fire station where the crew were training a new recruit.  Seeing photographs of the fire crew that had lost their lives that day was incredibly moving.

Here is a picture of the Fire Truck getting ready for a training session.  See what I mean about the flag!

New York Fire Truck

 American Girl Place

Yes.  I’m afraid she did.  This place.  There is nothing like it.  On Earth.  Five visits.  Five bloody visits.  Suckers.  I cannot do it justice in a paragraph so against my better judgement and because it was quite fascinating and crazy mad at the same time, it’s getting a post of its own.  Be afraid.  There is at least one doll in the UK.

American Girl Place

If you are in any doubt about taking children to New York, don’t be.  I felt incredibly safe there, we all did.  So very different since the clean up and my last visit.  There is loads of for kids to see and do.  There is also plenty for Iron Men to eat and drink.  Hell they even sell Stella Artois.  Of course he was gonna be a part of it.

New York, New York!!  Have you been?  What were your highlights?